The Orthodox Pages

























Question 198

Were Adam and Eve actual persons or are they symbolic of humanity?  


Answer to Question 198


Were Adam and Eve literally the first man and woman or are they figurative characters? Was there an Adam or does he just represent mankind in general?


 Christians have to believe that Adam and Eve were real people otherwise there is no sense in believing the rest of Holy Scripture and no sense believing in Christ as our Saviour. If we believe that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, we must believe in the New Testament that records his incarnation, his preaching, his death on the Cross, his Resurrection and everything else concerning his person and our salvation. Christ himself accepted the literal historicity of the Genesis account. He affirmed that the Genesis account is true by quoting word for word from Genesis “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? (Matt. 19: 4-6)


But there is more proof in the New Testament, as far as faith is concerned, that Adam was a genuine person and not only that, but that he was the son of God. In the Holy Gospel according to St Luke (3:23-38), we find the genealogy of our Lord Jesus Christ which begins: “And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli, Which was the son of Matthat, which was the son of Levi, which was the son of Melchi,…” and ending “Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.” 


What we have here is a genealogy of Jesus’ ancestry right back to Adam which is proof that Adam was indeed a real person and not a representation of mankind. Adam’s genealogy is of course mentioned in the Old Testament in much more detail as also his children’s generations, but the fact that it is mentioned in the New Testament verifies that the genealogy is true. We commonly say the Gospel of Matthew, or Mark or Luke or John, but this is not actually correct. It is the Gospel according to St. Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. The Gospel meaning "Good News" is the Gospel of Jesus Christ; it is the Word of God.


The genealogy is very important to us and could be discussed in detail, but would take too long, for now I will just say that it is important because not only does it cement together the Old and New Testament but confirms that Adam was a real person and everything in the Old Testament and the New Testament happened because of Adam. Our whole faith, everything we believe in is based on the fact that Adam was created in God’s image and likeness and then through original sin and the fall, he lost or distorted that divine image. The whole of the Bible, the Old and New Testaments is an account of God’s promise to save man from the fall and to restore in him once again the image of God.